tv Your Business MSNBC January 22, 2011 5:30am-6:00am EST
a gadget that helps you find your lost cell phone becomes a booming business. companies that start with absolutely no outside funding. and the hottest high-tech accessories that will help keep your small business running smoothly. we are here at the 2011 consumer electronics show in las vegas. that's coming up next on "your business." mrs.
small businesses are revitalizing the economy. hi there, everyone, i'm j.j. ramberg, and welcome to "your business" where we give you tips and advice for helping your business grow. once again this year, we are coming to you from geek heaven, the 2011 consumer electronics show. now of course there are a lot of big companies here. but this year, more than ever, small business owners are occupying the booths in these halls. for most, the road to ces takes
years. for one oklahoma particular company, it took just months. how? one part inspiration, one part sheer force of will. the people behind the zom took their idea for locating a lost cell phone and turned it into a ces success story like no other. ♪ >> one year ago, lori peneck, mother of three, and an entrepreneur with what she knew was a great idea was packing her bags to go to the consumer electronics show or ces for the very first time. >> i love technology and love gadgets. and so i would watch it every year and think, that would be so incredible to get to go to ces. >> just a few months before, lori had an oprah-induced epiphany on the treadmill. >> one of my girlfriends told me her husband had lost another iphone. i started thinking, you know, there's got to be a way that we
could come up with something. >> with help from her husband, her aha moment quickly moved from idea to business. >> everyone that i would share the idea with got really excited and said "we've never seen anything like it. do you know how large the market is for something like this?" this is a global business you're talking about. so when i got over that shock, we started to concentrate on what it would take. >> in that moment the zomm was born. named for zachary, olivia, and madison's mom. the concept for the zomm was a simple wireless leash to help locate those impossible-to-find cell phones. although they had a great idea, lori and henry's next challenge was figuring out how to make it work. >> the thing is to surround yourself with people smarter than you are. which wasn't too hard for us to do because we didn't know anything about technology. so that's when we searched out the best who we thought was in the world in bluetooth technology. >> just as the zomm development team was coming together, lori
came across an application for the 2010 ces innovation awards. >> i got on ces' web site, and i started reading, trying to figure out exactly, you know, what you would do at ces, and what it takes to be there. >> that's when my wife sent me an e-mail and said there's a contest at ces for the most innovative product. she goes, it would be really great if we could ender it that. >> i did a lot of research and tried to make sure it was a unique idea. and i just kind of had this feeling in my gut that we were going to win. >> but before they could even think about winning, lori and henry had to go through the rigorous process of applying for the award. and they only had 48 hours to get it done. >> they wanted a picture of the zomm, everything to enter this contest. so we wound up creating this wood chip that looked similar to a zomm, painted it as best we could, and sent that in as our specimen. we sat in our home for 24 hours
without sleep and just wrote it. wrote everything that zomm was going to be. what it was going it. do the benefits, et cetera, et cetera handed it in, and thinking, well, you know, this is kind of a shot in the dark. >> lori's gut feeling was right. the zomm won the prestigious ces innovation award. their next problem, the zomm was still just an idea. they had no product. >> on one hand we had outside professionals say, yes, this is a very innovative product. but on the flip side of that, we were also -- had one of those shocking type feelings that, oh, my goodness, we have to really hunker down and get our product developed because one of the requirements was that we had to have a working demo for the consumer electronics show. >> so how do you get a tech product from can sent to realty in just three months? if you follow the model of henry and lori penix, you set seemingly impossible goals. >> we wanted to set a goal out there. we wanted to make it lofty.
and then we'll do everything that we can in order to drive and meet that goal. >> and it would be the next looming deadline -- creating a working zomm that would become the make or break moment for their business. >> no one quit. they would go, you know, 18, 20 hours a day. sometimes 24 hours a day. and catch a few hours of sleep here and there and get right back on it because this wheel was moving, that deadline was approaching. and we had to do it. >> with the crush of press waiting to see the award-winning products, the zomm prototypes were ready just 24 hours before the show. >> i just started crying because i was not only at ces, but we had a booth. and it was just amazing. we were doing demos and to see my kids doing demos, it was incredible. >> the press seemed to love zomm. and about midway through, we had so many cameras in our face. every one of the folks that were there at the table on behalf of zomm were all being interviewed
by somebody. >> what started out as one housewife's big idea rapidly became an unprecedented media sensation. >> i think everyone needs a deadline for success. when you apply deadlines on yourself and on your company to get certain things finished, it moves you. it keeps the momentum going. and when you know you can't change those deadlines, i think that all adds to ultimate success. >> and one year later, lori and henry penix are back here at ces, showing the zomm once again. it's great to see both of you guys. >> thank you very much. >> tell me what the last year has been like. you had a big year, this exact time last year. what's going on? >> well, follow up from last year. we made so many great connections here at ces last year. this year has been that times 1,000. >> what's it like to be here this time when you didn't have the same deadlines and weren't coming out with a brand new
product? but you're much more established now. >> you know, i think that we've been so busy. i mean, weiner just as busy last year. and it's exciting to see the momentum and all the response that we've gotten from people. to know that people love the product. so now this year we're a little bit more confident. >> right. >> when you guys looked at what you accomplished in such a short time to get here, do you look back and think, wow, that was crazy? >> i know. yeah, we really do. >> we do. >> it's been totally amazing. opening offices in london and munich like we were talking about earlier. then all over the u.s. it's really -- like last year we were trying to get people to recognize us and raising our hands and jumping up and down. this year we're like, okay, we really can't meet with everyone this year. because of the momentum, it's carried us into this year. >> what a different world, right? would you be where you are now if you hadn't pushed yourself and won that innovation award? >> i don't think so. >> no. no. well, we -- we may have been to a certain level, but the
innovation award definitely helped us and propelled us to a higher height, yeah. >> i don't want to take too much of your time because obviously you have a lot of people to meet with. thank you very much for sharing your story with us, we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks for coming out. with many entrepreneurs struggling to find funding, some small business owners are starting their companies with nothing but their own savings. in our new segment called "your online business," we look at these so-called ultralights. many of which focus on e-commerce. we'll find out how they start on line with a clear focus on social media in an effort to become profitable as quickly as possible. think you need millions of dollars to launch a new company? well, you don't. meet these entrepreneurs who have done it on a shoestring. >> carbonite was started with zero dollars. >> we each put in $1,000 so it was $2,000 startup.
>> i put in $7,000 of my own money. >> these company read called ultralights, business founded with practically no capital. >> the idea is you're not seeking venture capital. it's money straight out of your own pocket and out of the organic nature of the business. and what the business is generating on its own. >> graham lawler, founder of ultralight startups new york, says this business model is right for the times. >> investors are only giving money to successful serial entrepreneurs or people that already have traction. and so you need to get some traction first. and the way is starting with the revenue first, then going off to scale afterwards. >> everyone laughs at me and thinks that it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a business off the ground. it really takes time. a lot of time. plus, a little money. >> hamilton caldwell started his business, maia yogurt, on the stove in his new york city apartment. >> i went from sitting on a trading desk the size of a football field to running the
company off my couch. >> when caldwell started maia, he knew he was going at it alone. >> it took a little bootstrapping. i gave this thing everything i had. >> while leveraging the marketing power of facebook and twitter, caldwell spends the majority of his time talking to customers at grocery stores in the new york city area and visiting the pennsylvania facility where in ultralight fashion he has outsourced his yogurt production. >> we're in the store seven days a week promoting this thing, getting in front of the consumer. really trying to get this message to catch on. but the product is really paramount to the business. to getting it to the next level. >> if you were to start a yogurt business, you know, 10 or 20 years ago, you might start with building your own production facility and building your own testing facility. i think the fact that he's using a shared kitchen and shared facility he's able to produce his yogurt at a much lower cost. >> john murch and his partner
bret snowden have also been able to keep costs down at ublanket. >> my background is computer science. his background is mechanical and electrical engineering. he does the hardware, i do the software. >> the pair took to the web to make blankets out of old t-shirts. they had the business running in no time. >> we hired a seamstress who was able to do the sewing, manufacturing for us. and i worked on building the site. it was about a one-month startup. originally looking to grow and build our own manufacturing facility but keeping with the trawl light motto, we decided to outsource and contract the work. >> the two are the only staffers. but the pair says that has actually helped them streamline their operations. >> neither bret or i could sew, so it was a learning experience the beginning of this. you know, we've been able to understand what needs to happen. and also work on ways to improve and speed up the process. >> so far, customers have learned about ublanket through
online searches, social media, and friends and family. >> we have not spent a dollar on advertisement yet. >> spencer frye and his business partners dave gorham and dave nelson haven't spent a dollar on advertising either. >> carbonmade is an online portfolio site for artists and creative people to display work on line. basically to show off what they produce. >> the site started off as gorham's personal portfolio. thanks to word-of-mouth, its popularity has grown. that allowed the trio to make carbonmade a full-time business. >> it's really about being frugal and keeping expenses low and hoping that more and more revenue comes in every month. >> rather than trying to recruit more customers, carbonmade uses revenue to focus on improving the experience of the company's approximately 300,000 current users. >> for an ultralight, you want to build a simple product because you have very few people to start. we had tounch to see launch with
a paid plan from the start. you need a business model where you'll make money from day one. most of the money is spent on developing the product and team, the people around it. >> if your business is profitable and growing, you don't have to take external capital and can continue to grow indefinitely. i think that's what spencer's doing. >> while carbonmade has found success, frye admits that the ultralight model isn't perfect. the challenges he and other entrepreneurs face are similar. >> i think everything takes -- may take a little longer as a self-funded company because you don't have as much access to capital. >> it took us a while to kind of save up money to move into a larger space. and from that, you know, maybe we could have done quicker turnaround times. >> despite this, lawler says the ultralight model does have a clear advantage. you'll know your business better than anyone else. >> it really forces the best practices on you from the beginning. >> it forces you to understand your business, you know, from a very inmat level, from the very first stage, right? you're not hiring somebody to do
your marketing for you and hiring somebody to do your design and hiring somebody to do your engineering for you. you're doing all that yourself. there are tons of new gadget and tools on display here at the consumer electronics show. here now are five of the best for small business. in the smartphone category, the motorola atrix 4g received high marks for its processing power and high resolution monitor. the iosafe rugged portable was best of class of the networking and storage category. this elk attorney general drive can hold up to one terabyte of data and is durable. in the design category, casio's tryx is a compact camera and camcorder that allows you to record high-definition media. in the p.c. and laptop category, intel received attention for its new line of cpus, codenamed sandy bridge. these processors will increase
energy fishies in equipped p.c.'s. and the moral olda xoom is a tablet that runs on the android operating system. we have a lot more coming your way from the 2011 consumer electronics show. the brilliant guy kawasaki will talk about the art of enchanting your customers. and ramon ray is like a kid in a candy shop here at ces. he's going to show us five of the hottest gadgets you can use to boost productivity and profits. seven years ago, i had this idea. to make baby food the way moms would. happybaby strives to make the best organic baby food. in a business like ours, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet
with the farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. we've gone from being in 5 stores to 7,500. booming is using points to make connections that grow your business. secretary of commerce gary locke is here at the consumer electronics show to talk about companies about what they need to export products. he talks about specifically what's out there for small business. great to see you again. thank you very much for talking to us. >> yeah. >> the administration has set lofty goals -- double exports in the next five years. how do small businesses play into that? >> well, the big companies have their own marketing forces and operations all around the world. it's really medium and small-sized businesses that can use the services, free services of the department of commerce, to actually help them find buyers and sell their american-made goods and services
around the world. when you consider that 95% of the world's consumers live outside the borders of the united states, it really behooves american companies to start thinking about where those buyers are. and we have trained people all around the world whose sole submission to walk the sidewalks and find buyers and customers for u.s. companies. especially medium size and small businesses. >> i talk to small businesses who are interested in that because they see the potential out there. the customers out there. but don't quite know where to start. where do they go? >> well, we have commerce offices all around the united states in over 100 cities. they can come to our web site, exportusa, and we can offer programs and services for them. we also have offices in some 80 countries all around the world. and these people's sole job is to find buyers and customers for made-in-usa products and services. >> are there any particular industries you're focusing on right now? >> actually, you know, so much of what america makes is in great demand and highly valued
around the world. you know, 50% of the companies that are being showcased here are actually u.s.-based companies. and a lot of these are medium and small-sized companies. >> we were excited to be walking around and see so many more small businesses than we've seen in the past. >> what we've done is actually brought some tens of thousands of foreign buying delegates here. a 30% increase over last year. and last year at the 2010 consumer electronics show, those foreign buyers, those delegations of foreign buyers actually purchased over 350 million -- $350 million of usa-made goods and services. and with a 30% increase in the number of delegates, we're expecting a bigger sales this year. >> we hope that affects a lot of small businesses in a positive way. thank you very much for stopping by and talking to us. we appreciate it. >> thank you. we are at the nbc universal booth at the consumer electronics show. this is the most fun part of the show because we get to talk to ramon ray from
smallbiztechnology too many. he's been combing the show to tell us what's out there for small business. it's great to have you here. you did all the work for us. let's see what you found. we're used to the ipad. what do you have here? >> two devices, one from tee sheeba, on the left, and anot from ar which hos. one, they run the google android operating system, point one. two, and i think a big thing for people, they run flash. for those who have been frustrated not able to watch movies or videos, these devices can do that. >> and do they cost the same? because some people find the ipad a little expensive for them. >> absolutely. they're different costs. the archos is $300. >> cheaper. >> it's cheaper. the one from toshiba is going to be priced competitively with the ipad. you can expect about $500. you see it has a brighter screen, long battery life, comes in colors, you can change. they're different, one cheaper, one a little bit more, but they're a bit different. >> we move from the tablets to a computer. >> exactly. and this year many people may think it's just a monitor. actually this is from h.p. and it's an all-in-one system. >> that's amazing.
i thought it was just a monitor. that's a great space saver if nothing else. >> absolutely. those who don't have a lot of space and who need something that's big, this is they want. it looks good. >> it does. that's a scanner? >> the scanner from fujitsu. they say it's one of the smallest in the world. what's nice, basically for those traveling, you're on the road and have paper and need to get it to your computer, your office, this is what you want. >> that's a fantastic idea. that is tiny. you can stick it in your bag with no problem. z-boost? >> exactly. a product called zboost, and it helps boost cell phone signals. you're in places in your apartment and house, cell phone signals are almost dead. this is a product you want to boost that and give you five bars instead of half a bar. >> this is for the small business owner who doesn't always like to be in the office and likes to travel, maybe be on vacation and work. but doesn't have a great signal. a great idea. then what do we have? a blue tooth type thing? >> a bluetooth headset called the jabra stone 2, it comes out,
the stone, and this is your headsets. when the headsets is not charged, when it loses juice, instead of finding a socket you can put it in here and charge. >> how many charges do you get out of that? >> three or four. all-day computing. when it run out, you can talk and talk and talk. >> great. >> another thing that's nice, it sticks you to. you put it in and it tells you when it needs to -- who's calling. >> and this is another charger? >> this is a charger, pretty nice, for cell phone devices. it's called powermat. what's nice, it's wireless cell phone charging. you take your mobile device, smartphone, you replace the battery cover with this. and just set your device on top of here. and it charges wirelessly. and as you see, it's mobile. you can carry it and still charge. >> anything that has no wires gets my interest. >> i like it. >> and how many charges out of this? >> all-day computing, three or four. if you want to talk a lot and need to recharge -- >> brilliant. i'm constantly in airports trying to find a place to plug my cell phone in or on the airplane. this is a -- >> not a toaster.
>> it looks a little bike a toaster. you read my mind. >> this is the pogoplug. you have photos and videos and files that are on your external hard drives. how can you access them on the road through the cloud? this is what you want. instead of paying a fee that you normally would do, you plug devices in here, and you can access them in the cloud. >> this is great. when i'm used to do is taking things from the external hard drive, putting it on the computer to get it in the cloud. now i don't have to do that. >> and no monthly fees. >> that's a big step. then we have -- >> a cute device from verizon wireless. other vendors also produce them. this is 4g wireless broadband. if you need to watch movies, do video conferencing on the road, this is something to watch. no longer -- jerky and slow. this makes it fast. >> how much does that cost? >> this is $99. it's $50 per month for five gigabytes. it can be pricey. >> if you're on the road a lot, it could be worth it. and then we have this very sleek kind of big printer. >> this is really cool. this is a printer from memjet. this is nice for small
businesses. they want something cheap, low cost, and color printing. >> low cost? >> $500. >> that's reasonable. >> and you can see in best buy, staples, other stores. >> that's fast. >> fast and affordable. >> thank you very much. i tell you to walk the show because we'll have you on again to show us what else is out there. >> thank you very much. >> great to see you. >> thank you, too. entrepreneur, technological evangelist, and social media guru. those are just a few of the words used to describe guy kawasaki. he is also author of "enchantsment: the art of changing hearts, minds, and actions," and he's here to talk to us today a little about how to use the rules of enchantment to get customers. great to see you. >> thank you. >> tell us how can you enchant people? enchanting is about making yourself likeable. >> special. yes. the foundation of enchantment is that you're likeable and trustworthy. and you have a great product or service. >> let's start with likeable.
likeable as a person, as a company, what do you mean? >> the real test you have to apply is, you know, do you buy things from people that are not likeable? and the answer's probably no. i mean, there are some exceptions. >> what's interesting -- >> new york city. >> it's interesting because oftentimes you have an agenda as a business person. you're talking to an investor, talking to a customer, you want to sell, sell, sell. sometimes people forget, step back, and get someone to like you first. >> yeah. and the key to likeability is the initial impression is very important. it means that you smile and there's two kinds of smiles. one is what they call the panam smile, only using the jaw. there is the duchen smile, also using the eyes. so in a way, i'm telling you that, you know, this perfect smile has crow's feet. crow's feet is in, no more botox, no more plastic surgery. you were the crow's feet. >> you're making me self-conscious how eye smiling. and trustworthiness.
someone has to like you and trust what you have to say. >> i think the key is that you're knowledgeable and competent. that you know what you're doing and you're willing to do what you know. another key element of trustworthy is that you default to a yes attitude. which means that when you meet most people, instead of thinking, you know, how can this person help me, you should be thinking how can i help this person. that would make you a world-class networking and schmoozer, make you completely a likeable, trustworthy person. >> and what about overcoming resistance? we hear this all the time. people say "i have a great product," "and the people who tested it say it's a great product. the people who don't know say what i have is good enough." >> when you look at the great successes, after the fact, the iphone, the ipad, the mcintosh, these great commercial successes, you would think, oh, it must have so easy. and everybody loved it out the gate. and apple just, you know, bats 1,000. none of that is true. all these great products
encountered resistance. the test is not that you don't encounter resistance, it's that you are willing to overcome the resistance. >> how do you do that? how do you get past the resistance? >> i think the key there is that, you know, you let 100 flowers blossom, when means that you may think you have your product or your service positioned. you know exactly who should buy it and exactly how they should use it. and to the extent possible, you should go through that mental exercise. however, once you ship, all bets are off. and ultimately, the factor that positions you is not your sort of wet -- your dream, your plan, your -- your greatest intention. >> it's what's happening out there. >> what's happening on the street. right. so with mcintosh, we thought we had a spreadsheet, data base, and word processing machine. guess what, it was none of the three. was a desktop only machine. with social media, twitter, facebook, blogging, marketing and customer acquisition is as
cheap and as efficient as it's ever been. i mean, this is the greatest age for marketing. twitter, you can reach hundreds of thousands of people. facebook, you can reach 600 million people. it's china, india, facebook. >> the lesson is use it. >> use it. get out there, push. don't think of of it as just social networking. think of it as a marketing mechanism. >> guy kawasaki, thank you very much for stopping by. we appreciate it. >> you're welcome. thank you. throughout the show today we've been taking a look at how technology is changing the way small businesses operate. for more, you can check out our web site of the week. lostintechnology.com provides helpful tips and tricks for the average computer user. you can check out posts on topics like how to set up a secure network at home to finding the best twitter application for your needs, to effectively using search engine optimization. to learn more about today's show, just click on our web site, it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive
content with more information to help your business grow. and don't forget to become a fan of the show on facebook. we look forward to getting some of your feedback. you can also follow us on twitter. it's@msnbcyourbiz. next, learning to laugh at the office. >> one thing i strongly discourage is a joke. aren't you a comedy trainer, yes, i am. but i don't want jokes, i want the truth. >> how standup comedy is boosting the bottom line at a new york-based public relations firm. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg. and remember, we make your business our business. seven years ago, i had this idea. to make baby food the way moms would. happybaby strives to make the best organic baby food.